Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer told me that immediately after the Canyon fire, local loggers organized and went into the burned area to retrieve any and all useful logs. The logs were hauled to a local mill so some consumptive use of the resources could be achieved. The masterminds at the federal government shut them down upon discovery, thereby wasting all of these downed trees that could have been put to good use.

Trent Loos

High Plains Journal

Firefighting: USFS cash cow

Do as I say, not as I do. How long will we tolerate the federal government doing things on a regular basis with the “Oh well” attitude yet if its citizens do something comparable the feds “lock ’em up”? I am thinking about three particular environmental infractions by the feds while others did far less and are now serving prison time.

In the summer of 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency allowed 1 million gallons of waste water from a mine to enter the Animas River in Colorado. The photo in itself is all you need to see to figure out the real story. Feds didn’t even say, “Oops! Sorry.”

In the spring of 2013, a prescribed burn on U.S. Forest Service land in South Dakota got away from the government employees in charge. That devastating Pautre fire consumed 16,000 acres of standing grass on public and private pasture land, damaged or destroyed fences, bales of forage, buildings and trees. They did not say, “I am sorry.” Instead they stated forces of nature were out of their control.

Several weeks ago I learned about the Grant County, Oregon, fire, of which I could still see the destruction two years later.

What is referred to as the Canyon Fire ultimately ended up burning 110,000 acres that consumed 54 homes and over 100 barns, shops and other structures. The estimated cost of putting this fire out was in excess of $30 million. The forest service officials insisted the fire was the result of Mother Nature and they did everything they could to minimize the impact.

Locals from John Day, Oregon, gave me a completely different story:

Forest Service firefighters were called and arrived on the scene of the initial lightning strike in plenty of time to contain the fire with only 100 acres or less being destroyed. They built a fire restraint, put in place some level of fire restraint technology. They put out the fire initially but they did not attend it over night and strong winds were reignited, which caused the devastation.

Not surprisingly and regardless of the reason, the fire got completely out of hand and there were no repercussions for the actions of government firefighters. Meanwhile, we have government officials imposing an outrageous double standard regarding fires. Looking the other way after a fire didn’t occur when the Malheur National Forest was ablaze.

Just down the road a bit is the site where Dwight and Stephen Hammond lit a backfire that put out what would have been a huge fire and they did so with permission from the Bureau of Land Management. Their resourceful land management and actual integrity to do what was right saved thousands of acres from going up in smoke and burned a measly 137 acres of BLM land. For their contribution to stopping a gigantic forest fire, they are currently spending five years in Terminal Island federal prison, convicted as terrorists for destroying federal property.

Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer told me that immediately after the Canyon fire, local loggers organized and went into the burned area to retrieve any and all useful logs. The logs were hauled to a local mill so some consumptive use of the resources could be achieved. The masterminds at the federal government shut them down upon discovery, thereby wasting all of these downed trees that could have been put to good use.

My theme shall remain in 2017: We have to turn the tide of the federal government and return it to being a government of, by and for the people. As of Jan. 20, we have new leadership but we cannot sit back and expect these things to correct themselves. A government who holds its citizens criminally responsible for errors it makes on a much grander scale should not be considered part of a free society. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. It seems like a few ganders should be in hot water about now.

If I were somewhat of a cynical sort of feller, I would be inclined to believe the government put the Hammond’s in prison because they implemented too much common sense and their actions eliminated some job security for what has become the real cash cow of the U.S. Forest Service: firefighting.

Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food.

Doghead Fire US Forest Service photo

Free Range Report

 

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